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Press Release

Cleveland businessman fined $250,000 and put on house arrest for lying about payments to city officials

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio

The owner of a business in Cleveland’s Lee-Harvard neighborhood was fined $250,000 and sentenced to six months of house arrest for lying to federal agents about paying cash to city officials, said Carole S. Rendon, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland office.

Ashwani “Eddie” Adya, 50, of Solon, previously pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to a law enforcement officer.

Adya operated a retail food and beverage business. Lawrence Payten worked at a nonprofit community organization that promoted commercial development in Cleveland’s Lee-Harvard neighborhood. Lejon C. Woods worked as a contract compliance officer in the City of Cleveland’s Office of Equal Opportunity.

Between November 2009 and August 2010, Adya paid cash to Payten and Woods. He lied about these payments when questioned by an FBI agent on June 18, 2015, according to court documents.

Woods and Payten both pleaded guilty to criminal charges. Woods was sentenced to six months in jail while Payten was sentenced to eight months of house arrest.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Adam Hollingsworth and Henry F. DeBaggis following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Updated June 15, 2016

Public Corruption